New Jersey Agencies to Conduct Annual Hurricane Evacuation Drill, Alerting Motorists of Increased Emergency Crew Presence
The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), in partnership with the New Jersey State Police (NJSP), the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA), and the South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA), will be conducting its annual emergency evacuation exercise on Thursday, June 1. The drill, designed to refine and practice response activities in the event of a major hurricane, will see heightened emergency personnel presence on major routes.
While no roads will be closed during the drill, motorists can expect to see an increased presence of NJSP, NJDOT, NJTA, and SJTA work crews along several highways. These key shore evacuation routes include the Atlantic City Expressway, Garden State Parkway, I-195, Route 72, Route 47, and Route 347. Drivers are advised to exercise caution when traveling along these routes.
The core aspect of the exercise is preparing to set up a contraflow on these highways, which serve as crucial evacuation routes for the Jersey Shore. In a contraflow, traffic is reversed on a section of the roadway to facilitate smoother evacuation. Crews will be positioning cones, barrels, and message boards in designated areas along the side of these highways but will not deploy these materials.
Motorists are reminded that if they observe transportation or emergency personnel on the roadside, they should slow down and move over if possible. It is unlawful for motorists, including members of the media, to pull off to the side of the highway unless there's an emergency.
Media outlets interested in covering the exercise should contact the NJDOT Communications Office via email at email@example.com or by phone at 609-963-1975.
Variable message signs will be used to notify motorists of the exercise while it is in progress. Motorists are encouraged to check NJDOT's traffic information website www.511nj.org for real-time travel information.
This proactive measure, taken annually, is part of New Jersey's commitment to ensuring the safety and preparedness of its residents in the event of a major hurricane. By familiarizing emergency and transportation personnel with protocols and letting the public observe this increased activity, the state aims to enhance responsiveness and readiness in times of potential crisis.